Canadian Manufacturing

Ace of Base Latex

Versa-Matic® Elima-Matic® Pumps Improve Base Latex Production and Reduce Downtime


You’ve ruptured yet another diaphragm, and your customer wanted this batch of latex yesterday to mix its new line of paints reflecting this season’s hottest hues. Chronic maintenance problems are really wearing on your pumps—and your productivity.

Sound familiar? The solution may be easier than you think.

When one major base latex paint manufacturer became frustrated with frequent pump stalls and downtime, managers knew they had to find a way to cut their mounting costs. Like most other paint processing facilities, this manufacturer used Air-Operated Double Diaphragm pumps in every processing zone. First, the pumps combined monomers in the soap tank and then transferred them to the reactor for heating. Then, the pumps moved the base latex to the chiller, then on to the filtering room and, finally, to storage tanks and totes. Setbacks along the way caused a domino effect that impacted the entire process and delayed deliveries to customers who bought the base latex for use in their paints, coatings, wallpaper paste and more.

Pump failures were beginning to cause financial failures. Costly wear parts had to be replaced frequently. Significant downtime hurt the facility’s productivity and often caused the latex to dry mid-process, which ruined entire batches of product. Redundant work aggravated pump operators, and excessive overtime pay took its toll on the budget. Plus, utility bills had skyrocketed because the inefficient pumps used large quantities of expensive compressed air.

But everything changed when the manufacturer agreed to install a Versa-Matic® Elima-Matic® air valve on a trial basis.

Not only did the trial succeed, but the valve proved so reliable that the manufacturer had it installed on 70 percent of its pumps. The company eventually replaced all 150 of its AODD pumps with Versa-Matic pumps using the patented Elima-Matic Air Valve System. As a result, the manufacturer experienced a significant increase in productivity and a solid return on the investment. The time savings substantially improved efficiency—and still continues to lower the total cost of ownership today.

Eliminating Paint Points

Before this base latex manufacturer implemented the Elima-Matic Air Valve System, maintenance was a key pain point. Throughout the facility, processors had to run a constant stream of water—costly and messy—across the old pumps to try to prevent freezing and stalling, but the pumps often failed anyway.

Workers kept hammers close by at all times. In addition, whenever a diaphragm would rupture, cleaning and replacing up to seven O-rings with an O-ring pick was difficult because the center block bushing was so small and complex. Plus, workers could not determine if the O-rings had been positioned properly until the whole pump was reassembled. Repeat attempts often wasted valuable work time.

Photo courtesy of York Fluid Controls Ltd.

But once the Elima-Matic Air Valve System was in place, maintenance issues were greatly minimized. The Elima-Matic pumps simply didn’t freeze or stall, and the individual parts lasted much longer than standard wear parts. The pumps also used much less compressed air, which significantly lowered the company’s utility bills.

Even now, when occasional repairs or part replacements are necessary due to regular wear, the simple pump design allows for fast teardown and repair. For example, workers can easily disassemble a pump to remove dried latex with a blowtorch, instead of having to replace an entire clogged bushing. Through low maintenance and efficient, reliable production, the pumps continue to deliver a solid return on the investment.

Pumps Made for Paint

Because binder comprises 30 percent of typical paint composition, pumps used in the paint industry have to be especially durable. The properties that make resins and drying oils successful as binders of pigments are the same properties that cause buildup inside processing equipment.

The binders in latex emulsions are polymerized from styrene, butadiene, vinyl acetate and acrylic monomers, and are extremely heat- and shear-sensitive, which makes pumping a particular challenge. Latex viscosity can range from 100SSU (20cp) to 25,000SSU (5,500cp), and temperatures can reach up to 400°F when pumping synthetic resins.

Elima-Matic AODD pumps are designed to meet the specific needs of latex pumping facilities. These pumps can handle a range of viscosities — from water to 90-percent solids — which is perfect for accommodating the varying quality of resins and paint slurry. And because Elima-Matic pumps can operate at varying speeds, these AODD pumps are ideal for the transfer of abrasive pigments and highly viscous paste through the paint processing stages of grinding, thinning, straining and packaging. In spite of the harshness of the materials used in this industry, Elima-Matic parts and Versa-Matic diaphragm technology are designed to wear more slowly than the components of competing systems.

Long-Lasting Versa-Dome® Diaphragm Increases Productivity

The unique Versa-Dome® diaphragm is an innovative feature of the Versa-Matic pumps used in the paint industry. Its simple, flexible construction makes it easy to install or replace without pry bars. Plus, the dome shape spreads wear across the entire part, allowing it to last up to 300 percent longer than a standard diaphragm that typically focuses stress at one point. The diaphragm’s rolling shape also allows for reliable flow of thick latex and slurry that clog inferior diaphragms. Together, the Versa-Dome diaphragm’s easy installation and long flex life minimize downtime, make facilities more productive and reduce maintenance headaches for a lower total cost of ownership.

Versatile Elima-Matic Technology Eliminates Inefficiencies

The Elima-Matic Air Valve System performs like an engine that allows for reliable flow. A variety of Elima-Matic AODD pumps utilizing this system are available in a range of sizes and durable construction materials. The two- and three-inch pumps used most often in the paint industry improve efficiency in every paint application, including bulk transfer, ink dispensing and solvent batching.

The Elima-Matic Air Valve System improves productivity because its reliable design yields significant savings in downtime. Primarily, the system eliminates stalling because the air valve spool is positively shifted by the transfer of a pilot shaft. When the main shaft travels to full-stroke length, the inner piston on the opposite side depresses an internal pilot shaft, which ports a burst of compressed air to the main spool valve. The main spool valve reciprocates in a positive, reliable shift. As the pilot shaft moves back and forth, an air burst is ported to the main spool, which causes it to shift every time. With an anti-stalling design that can handle pressures of up to 200 psi, the Elima-Matic system empowers facilities to keep operating so they can produce more.

The Elima-Matic design also boosts productivity by preventing icing. Compressed air evacuates through air passages that are designed to allow a controlled expansion, which considerably reduces the cooling effect. In addition, the center block and air valve surface areas are ribbed and act as heat exchangers to dissipate the rapid cooling effect. Because the pumps are designed to operate without freezing, companies don’t waste time or resources by having to restart stalled machines or discard ruined batches. Processors even save money when their Elima-Matic pumps are not in use—because the specially designed air valve spool prevents blow-by—a costly and messy problem for paint processors.

The simple, user-friendly design of the Elima-Matic Air Valve System also makes maintenance easy and affordable, as the system has fewer parts. Because the pumps are lube-free and self-priming, they practically run themselves — without introducing lubricants that could potentially contaminate the crucial purity of products. And when maintenance repairs are necessary, the design of the Air Valve System allows for easy access to wear parts. The Elima-Matic system has only two center-block O-rings, both made out of a material that is specially blended for long-lasting performance. The pilot shaft O-rings come out as a complete assembly, and are easily replaced without the use of an O-ring pick. And the air valve can be reached without taking the pump’s center section apart. These overall savings in time and maintenance costs contribute most significantly to long-term savings and productivity.

Retro Is In
Elima-Matic pumps are designed to retro-fit with pre-installed systems, which makes the investment easy and affordable. Conversion kits fit into existing pumps, and Versa-Matic pumps fit most footprints. Paint processors are already familiar with the principles behind the Elima-Matic technology, so learning how to operate the pumps requires little training. Workers are able to begin processing right away to experience immediate benefits.

The base latex manufacturer mentioned earlier found that retro-fitting the Elima-Matic pumps was its key to a more profitable future. This company plans to continue growing by using Elima-Matic pumps for every batch of base latex.

More About Versa-Matic
Versa-Matic Pump Company, a unit of IDEX Corporation, is a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of air-operated double diaphragm pumps and accessories.

Versa-Matic® pumps are stocked and distributed in Canada by York Fluid Controls – Brampton, Ontario 877-454-6066.

About York Fluid Controls Ltd.
Established in 1960, York Fluid Controls Limited is a leading stocking distributor of fluid transfer and process pumps, positive displacement and centrifugal pumps, liquid filtration, valves, mixers and tanks. In keeping with its commitment to quality, it provides only best-in-class products and stands behind each one. York Fluid Controls also offers an extensive range of services including a complete repair and test centre, an engineering department, custom fabrication, and a machine and assembly shop. Operating out of its own 17,000 square foot premises in Brampton, York Fluid Controls serves organizations of all sizes and from all industries, throughout Canada. Reliability, service, excellence, a desire to solve customers’ problems and the highest ethical standards underpin this family-owned company and all that it does. To learn more visit www.yorkfluid.com